We’ve seen some quality King George’s in recent seasons with Taghrooda (2014), Highland Reel (2016), Poet’s Word (2018) and the wonderful Enable in 2017, 2019 and 2020, and we look set to feast our eyes on another corker this afternoon!

Epic race! Enable wins the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes again!

Love has looked spectacular since blitzing her 1,000 Guineas field at the start of last June, taking all before her, with three Group 1’s and returning with a battling victory in the Prince Of Wales’s at Royal Ascot over a month ago. A deserved market leader!

This year’s Saudi Cup and Dubai Sheema Classic winner Mishriff represents the John and Thady Gosden team and looks to bounce back from a defeat behind the very exciting St Mark’s Basilica at Sandown. He didn’t seem to love conditions that day and despite having won with plenty of cut at Deauville last August, the very real threat of rain could blunt his chances.

Wonderful Tonight on the other hand will love the forecast change of surface, having won five of her seven starts when soft has been included in the going description. She was mightily impressive over course and distance at Royal Ascot when kicking clear of another of today’s rivals, Broome, in the Hardwicke Stakes. She ran to her best RPR last time out after a long lay-off, so it’s conceivable that there could be more in the tank but she’ll likely have to get her conditions in order to put it up to the likes of Love.

Stunning performance! Wonderful Tonight is brilliant in the Hardwicke!

However, for all of Love’s brilliance, I’m most intrigued by the young pretender, ADAYAR.

There hasn’t been an Epsom Derby winner who was able to follow up in the King George since the late-great Galileo, who achieved the feat way back in 2001 when forging clear of the brilliant Fantastic Light. But, for all that it’s been 20 years since the last, don’t let that statistic put you off any future Derby winners lining up here as only THREE horses have attempted to follow in the footsteps of Galileo.

What is clear, however, is that it normally takes an exceptional animal to do it. Before Galileo, you had the likes of Troy, Shergar, Nashwan and Lammtarra all managing to land the double. But do we have that with this year’s candidate, Adayar?

What is particularly unique about Adayar, is that he could yet be very special. Barring a demolition job at Nottingham when breaking his maiden tag on his second ever start, the striking son of Frankel has shown signs of greenness throughout his career. The only time he’s jumped from the gate well was when winning by nine-lengths that day at Nottingham, everywhere else has been something of a task to get away from the gate. The colt even took a dozen strides from the stalls to find his feet when streaking four and a half lengths clear in the Derby.

WOW! Adam Kirby claims his first Classic aboard 16-1 chance ADAYAR in the 2021 Cazoo Derby at Epsom

He’s also lugged to his right at times, riding up the camber at Epsom at the 2-pole, which given the course’s unusual configuration is forgivable in such a young horse. At Lingfield he lugged in behind Third Realm up the straight when looking beaten and ran around a little when chasing home Alenquer up the Sandown hill. Again, these are only small critiques, and I don’t know whether it’s a case of still being a bit of a baby or where he’s become weary and losing a bit of focus but for me, it suggests there could be plenty more to come from the giant.

I also really believe that Adayar is representing a vintage crop of three-year-olds this year, with Poetic Flare, Snowfall, Hurricane Lane and St Mark’s Basilica all impressing on the biggest stage. Only the latter has taken on his elders so far but he put up a classy display when thumping the Coral Eclipse field at the start of the month. Love is a more than worthy rival for the Godolphin colt but he really could be anything and gets tonnes of weight for age, it could be just enough to tip the scales...

Win, lose or draw, for such a select field, it’s set to be another cracking edition of a legendary race. Best of luck and come on Adayar!

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